How On Demand Services Are Changing The Face Of Television

The nature of television has undergone a rapid and dramatic transformation over the last several years. The rise of on demand services like Netflix has changed some of the most fundamental aspects of the television production process, as well as the manner in which television is consumed by viewers. With both Netflix and Amazon now positioning themselves as content producers and outspending the traditional television networks, the range of content available has increased. Both Netflix and Amazon are in a position financially that allows them to take greater risks than traditional television production companies, and this is reflected not only in the nature of their respective offerings but also in the impact their original content is having on the television industry more broadly.

Binge Watching

Binge watching has been around for as long as television series has been available on various home media formats. However, with a monthly subscription to Netflix or Amazon available for less than the price of a box set per month, and with both services offering tens of thousands of shows to their subscribers, binge watching has become much more common and the term has entered common parlance.

The majority of original series produced by Netflix and Amazon are released all at once. Fans of these series often watch them within the space of a few days after they become available. This is in contrast to traditional programming, which is bound by a schedule and released week-to-week. The popularity of binge watching has been both a blessing and a curse. For the viewers, it is a blessing, as they are able to watch hours and hours of their favorite shows anytime they like. For the content producers outside of on demand services, it has had some unexpected consequences. For example, a large number of viewers now defer viewing until the series is available in its entirety, which can negatively impact ratings when measured according to traditional metrics.

Riskier Programming

Producers of original on demand content have become braver in their creative decision making. This is, in part, because they are well positioned financially to survive the failure of a show, but also because as more content is released and more feedback is generated, production companies are getting a clearer idea of what people like and what previously unexplored concepts and subjects are proving popular with audiences.

New Talent

It is notoriously difficult to break into the television industry without any prior connections. However, now that on demand distribution is available and video production services are becoming more affordable, a lot of talented writers, actors, and other individuals are finding that there is a place for them in the production of on demand programming.

The entry barriers for most creative industries have been lowered significantly over the last couple of decades, as technological advances have put professional quality software and equipment within reach of ordinary people. The impact this has had on television has been significant and has led to a sharp increase in original and innovative programming, with on demand services leading the charge.

Updated: August 9, 2017 — 7:00 am